8 Mile (2002) 

Alan:

Ebert: Rolling Stone: TV Guide:1/2


Warning, minor plot points revealed!

For a moment now, until Harry Potter's new movie comes out this Friday, Eminem has the #1 movie in the country ($54 million opening weekend, second highest ever for an R rated feature.)  At the same time he has the #1 one album (8 Mile Soundtrack) and the #8 album (for the last 24 weeks in the top 10 The Eminem Show.)  Obviously, this guy's going nowhere.

The most "hated on" person in the music industry now has people whispering "Oscar" in his ear.  8 Mile is a good movie.  For it's genre, it's a great movie.  It's Tougher Than Leather!  He's Breakin' down misconceptions in a Purple Rain.  I'll be happy but surprised if he gets nominated for an Academy Award.  His acting is great but I can't help feeling that he's pretty familiar with the material.  

The people of Detroit apparently consider 8 Mile the city limit (Even though I was born and grew up there, I didn't know this until Eminem told me a couple years ago on one of his albums.)  It's black then white.  After 8 you're in the suburbs. Jimmy Smith Jr. is a white rapper named Rabbit who lives in the 313. During a decisive week, Rabbit must make personal and professional choices that will affect the outcome of his life.  

Detroit is portrayed by director Curtis Hanson as one of the scariest hardest scummiest looking places on Earth.  It was cool how creepy and sad they made it look.  You don't feel sorry only for Rabbit, you feel bad for every character in the film.  For those of my readers who live outside the 313, Detroit is not anywhere near as bad as it looks in the movies. 

Everyone in the movie does a great job.   Kim Basinger as Jimmy's mother was a dangerously creative bit of casting.  Mekhi Phifer plays Future.  I didn’t even recognize him for the first few minutes of the film.  He was really good.  Brittany Murphy is hot.  And it was nice to see Paul Bates (Oha from Coming to America) in another movie.  Way to go Paul! 

I like Eminem.  Ever since he dropped his first single Holly’s been a huge fan.  She’s wild about him and her ability to quote his lyrics while lecturing at M.S.U. confers upon her a whole new level of street cred…a valuable commodity among M.S.U. professors.  I love celebrities who become more and more popular even though they are notorious, demonstrated against, and despised.  It makes me want to cheer him on even more.  If that many people are afraid or offended by him then he’s doing the world a service.  We need agitators.  They make things interesting.  I readily fan the fires of his spectacle. 

8 Mile is definitely worth watching.  Even if you are not a big fan, it’s an interesting, well acted and directed film.  Consider this my official shout-out for the movie. 

 

Strange But True Fact:  My parents actually saw this movie before I did.  For those of you who don’t know my parents, the reason they went is because they are incredibly hip.  For those of you who do know them, we will forever have to puzzle over how they even knew that the movie existed.